OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

Old Photos of Japan
shows photos of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s. In 1854, Japan opened its doors to the outside world for the first time in more than 200 years. It set in motion a truly astounding transformation. As fate would have it, photography had just been invented. As the old country vanished and a new one was born, daring photographers took photos. Discover what life was like with their rare and precious photographs of old Japan.

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Osaka 1890s • Ebisubashi Bridge

Ebisubashi Bridge, Osaka

Ebisubashi (Ebisu bridge) in Osaka, Japan. View towards North Osaka, taken from the current location of the Kanidoraku crab restaurant. The large buildings on the horizon are the Buddhist temples Kita Mido and Minami Mido.

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1880s • Woman in Kago

Woman in Kago
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Group portrait of an elegant Japanese woman in a kago (palanquin) carried by two bearers. The bearers have traditional hairstyles and clothing and are holding ikizue (breath sticks) to regulate their breathing while walking. They are wearing straw sandals. A paper umbrella is placed on the roof, the common place to put the luggage of passengers.

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Tokyo 1920s • Tokyo Station

Tokyo 1920s: Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station
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Located in the Marunouchi business district of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace grounds and the Ginza commercial district, Tokyo Station was designed by architect Tatsuno Kingo to celebrate Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War. Unfortunately, the beautiful domes and the top floor were destroyed during fire-bombings on May 25 and June 25, 1945.

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Osaka 1890s • Shitennoji Temple

Osaka 1880s: Shitennoji Temple

Shitennoji Temple in Osaka was founded by Prince Shotoku Taishi (574-622) in 593 during Japan’s first wave of temple construction. It is one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples and is dedicated to the four directional guardians (Shitenno). The inhabitants of Osaka call the temple lovingly “Tennoji-san,” the way you’d address a person.

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